Finally. It’s been more than a year since we first started hearing that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) were considering making changes to regulations regarding the use of electronic devices during takeoff and landing. A few months ago, we found out that the FAA was reviewing a report that showed that technology has improved enough that most electronic devices won’t interfere with aircraft instrument panels. Today, the Department announced that it will allow airlines to expand the use of electronic devices during takeoff and landing.
According to a press release, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced that the FAA has determined that “airlines can safely expand passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) during all phases of flight.” The decision was met after careful consideration of the above-mentioned report, which was drafted by airline representatives, aviation manufacturers, passengers, pilots, flight attendants, and the mobile technology industry.
Passengers will be able to read e-books, play games, watch videos, and more from their devices, except during the minutes of the actual during takeoff and landing roll. You can even use Bluetooth accessories like wireless keyboards. The only think you can’t do is use cellular service. This is based on FCC regulations that prohibit any airborne calls using cell phones.
“We believe today’s decision honors both our commitment to safety and consumer’s increasing desire to use their electronic devices during all phases of their flights,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These guidelines reflect input from passengers, pilots, manufacturers, and flight attendants, and I look forward to seeing airlines implement these much anticipated guidelines in the near future.”
Top Things Passengers Should Know about Expanded Use of PEDs on Airplanes:
- Make safety your first priority.
- Changes to PED policies will not happen immediately and will vary by airline. Check with your airline to see if and when you can use your PED.
- Current PED policies remain in effect until an airline completes a safety assessment, gets FAA approval, and changes its PED policy.
- Cell phones may not be used for voice communications.
- Devices must be used in airplane mode or with the cellular connection disabled. You may use the WiFi connection on your device if the plane has an installed WiFi system and the airline allows its use. You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.
- Properly stow heavier devices under seats or in the overhead bins during takeoff and landing. These items could impede evacuation of an aircraft or may injure you or someone else in the event of turbulence or an accident.
- During the safety briefing, put down electronic devices, books and newspapers and listen to the crewmember’s instructions.
- It only takes a few minutes to secure items according to the crew’s instructions during takeoff and landing.
- In some instances of low visibility – about one percent of flights – some landing systems may not be proved PED tolerant, so you may be asked to turn off your device.
- Always follow crew instructions and immediately turn off your device if asked.
So, the next time you are on a plane, if the airline permits it, you won’t have to turn off your iPad during takeoff and landing. You will be able to continue playing Angry Birds during the entire flight.